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02nd Feb 2022

“Incredibly sophisticated public transport system” cited among reasons for huge spike in Irish house prices

Hugh Carr

prime time public transport


Former Chair of the Housing Agency Conor Skehan has claimed that Ireland’s “incredibly sophisticated public transport system” was a key factor amongst a number of reasons for the major increase in house prices over the past 40 years.

The housing issue and particularly how it is affecting the current generation is the subject of a series of programmes by RTÉ Prime Time this week, with Skehan appearing as a guest on Tuesday night.

According to RTÉ, the average price of a home in the late 1980s was €42,000, or €80,000 adjusted for inflation.

Today, buyers can expect to spend around €272,000 on average when buying a house in Ireland.

Skehan attributed the rise to a number of factors, including what he described as Ireland’s “incredibly sophisticated public transport system”.

“The price of the house now, in whatever way you measure it, is about three times what it was back in 1987,” Skehan said.

“But, in 1987, we were buying something that was uninsulated, unsafe, and stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no shops, no public transport, no open space.

“When we’re buying a house today, we’re buying an incredibly more sophisticated product and we are paying the price with our capital contributions for the incredibly sophisticated transport system and everything else that goes with it,” he added.

When asked if he thought that the expectations of first-time buyers were too high, he disagreed, and said that they “get what they pay for”.

While public transport facilities have improved since 1987, it could be seen as quite a stretch to say that Ireland has an “incredibly sophisticated public transport system”.

In Dublin alone, the DART Underground was first proposed in 1972 and has been postponed until at least 2042, a difference of 70 years.

The Metrolink was first proposed in 2005 and is not expected to be operational until 2031.

The last trip home on many Dublin services outside of the Nitelink are between 10pm and 12am, when many other European cities feature 24-hour services.

Outside of the capital, public transport is next to non-existent in rural areas. Donegal, for example, is yet to receive any plan for the development of a train line.

As part of RTÉ’s coverage of the issue, a debate on the housing crisis between the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for housing Eoin O’Broin is set to broadcast this Thursday at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.